Aren’t you digging these fantastic guest posts from Mad?
If you ever get “voluntold” to make dinner, and the recipe at hand looks like something Clarissa’s mom would have made, just go with it. Appearances can be deceiving.
Chickpea Bajane did not pique my interest at first glance. By that I mean, upon looking at the ingredients list, my face dissolved into gaping maw. A fennel bulb… and leeks? With quinoa? Uh-huh. Maybe I’ll just have cereal for dinner instead. However, as I continued reading, things started to look up. A CUP of wine. Indeed. 5 cloves of garlic. Go on. Thyme and chickpeas. Maybe this will work.
Sometimes you just need a little faith that everything will come together in the end. Despite a very healthy ingredient list, this dish is incredibly flavorful and filling! Shocking, I know. The combination of fennel, garlic, wine and thyme creates a very unusual flavor and consistency that is buttery, moist and, well, fennel-y. Although “Bajane” is a Provençal word for “midday meal”, it’s perfectly suited for a weeknight dinner as it is light and reheats well for lunch the next day.
On an effort scale of 1 to 10 (1 being dinner through a feeding tube and 10 being a nice Coq au Vin or Baked Alaska), I’d give this a 4.5, due to all the chopping. Otherwise it is a very straightforward, bullet-proof dish.
Adapted from a recipe from Cooking Light.
- 2 tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 c. veggie broth
- 1 c. water
- 1 c. uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tbl. extra-virgin olive oil (add more as needed)
- 2 c. thinly sliced leek (about 1 large)
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 1/2 c. sliced fennel bulb (about 1 large)
- 1 3/4 c. carrot, sliced (about 3/4 pound)
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
- ½ c. white wine
- 1 c. veggie broth
- 4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbl. lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach
*TIP: Chop. Everything. First. This means: 5 garlic cloves, the fennel bulb, leeks, carrots and thyme. Set aside.
For the quinoa:
1. Add two tablespoons olive oil to a large saucepan and heat on medium-high.
2. Add the chopped garlic clove and saute for about a minute. (If you’re dealing with a previously frozen jar of broth, make sure you can open it before completing this step or you’ll end up with slightly burnt garlic… lesson learned.)
3. Add the rest of the quinoa ingredients: 1 cup veggie broth, 1 cup water, 1 cup quinoa, thyme and salt.
4. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.
MEANWHILE, the chickpea mixture:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add the leeks and 4 garlic cloves, and saute for about 5 minutes. Feel free to add more oil as needed if things start to get dry.
3. Add the fennel bulb, carrots, fennel seeds and 2 tablespoons oil, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture begins to get tender.
4. Add 1 cup wine, and cook about 3 minutes, or until the liquid is almost gone.
5. Add 1 cup broth, 2 teaspoons thyme and chickpeas, and cook for another minute or two.
6. Remove mixture from heat, and add lemon juice, salt, pepper and spinach. Stir spinach in heated mixture until it wilts.
To serve, place about a cup of quinoa in a bowl, and top with the chickpea mixture. The proportions are really up to you, but it’s great with about a 50/50 ratio. Enjoy your delicious (yet extraordinarily healthy) dinner.